We Stand With Shaker Website Launches, Plus Campaign Video Featuring My “Song for Shaker Aamer” With My Band The Four Fathers

24.11.14

The logo for the We Stand With Shaker campaign, launched on Nov. 24, 2014.What a day it’s been! A great launch, for We Stand With Shaker, the new campaign to secure the release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, including the launch of our website, which features photos of supporters all around the world holding their own signs that say “I Stand With Shaker.”

Also released today — and also on the website — is the campaign video, made by Billy Dudley, featuring my band The Four Fathers performing “Song for Shaker Aamer,” the song I wrote for the campaign, which is available below, via YouTube. Please watch it if you have three minutes to spare, and please share it if you like it:

Our special guest for the launch in Old Palace Yard, opposite Parliament, was Roger Waters (Pink Floyd’s chief songwriter), who told me last night that he was coming, but we were also delighted to welcome Clive Stafford Smith, the director of Reprieve (and Shaker’s lawyer for many years), Green MP Caroline Lucas, John McDonnell MP (who has organised a Parliamentary meeting tomorrow evening with the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, at which I’m speaking), the comedian Jeremy Hardy and, unexpectedly, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

Roger, Clive, Caroline and I addressed the crowd after a photo opportunity, as did John McDonnell when he arrived later, and Ray Silk of SSAC. I’ll be posting photos soon — and watch out for videos too — but in the meantime you’ll find some photos on our Twitter page and on our Facebook page, which we urge you to like, share and follow.

Today was also a good day for media coverage. It began with a hard-hitting column about Shaker’s case, justice and the law from Peter Oborne, the Daily Telegraph‘s chief political commentator, which included the following:

His continued incarceration in Guantánamo Bay is — by any standards of justice and decency — a stinking scandal. I suspect that British and American authorities fear that Mr Aamer, a highly articulate man, might well embarrass them upon his release. I hope he does. I have also heard suggestions that the United States would prefer to send him back to Saudi Arabia – but that is surely unthinkable because he would risk facing fresh maltreatment, illegal imprisonment and torture … This is a cause that demands the support of everyone who believes in justice, fairness and the rule of law.

Throughout the day, RT featured the launch as their major news story of the day, and at 6pm I was interviewed for their main news bulletin, which I’ll make available if/when it becomes available on YouTube. Thanks to those of you who saw it and said how much you enjoyed it. I did too!

There was also a Huffington Post article, and an article in the Guardian by Richard Norton-Taylor who came to the launch and learned from Clive Stafford Smith that Shaker is going to sue the British government for failing to secure his release:

Stafford Smith said he would sue the British government for failing to help get Aamer freed. He accused MI6 of “stabbing Shaker in the back” by giving US courts false intelligence. But he added: “There is no doubt the Foreign Office is honestly trying to bring Shaker back.”

He said the Foreign Office was responsible for MI6, the foreign intelligence service. “The [Foreign Office] needs to have a quiet conversation with MI6,” he said.

Norton-Taylor also noted:

Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, described Aamer’s continuing presence in Guantánamo as a “massive injustice”, that was “morally wrong”. He remained there “to save the blushes of successive governments”, she said.

Andy Worthington, of the “Stand with Shaker” campaign, described the case as a “travesty of justice”.

In conclusion, however, a Foreign Office spokesman told Norton-Taylor, “Mr Aamer’s case remains a high priority for the UK government and we continue to make clear to the US that we want him released and returned to the UK as a matter of urgency. Any decision regarding Mr Aamer’s release ultimately remains in the hands of the United States government” — the usual claims that have now worn so thin that they are more air than substance.

We call on the British government to abandon its excuses and to demand the immediate return of Shaker to his family in the UK.

To get involved, please visit this page on the website for details of how to send in photos and how to contact the British government to demand Shaker’s release — and also how to contact the Obama administration.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the director of “We Stand With Shaker,” calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

25 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this to Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my announcement of the launch of the We Stand With Shaker website, the campaign video featuring my “Song for Shaker” and a round-up of the media responses to the launch. It was a long day – and it’s been a busy few weeks – but it was all worth it. Thanks to everyone who took an interest; now let’s build the campaign and get Shaker Aamer released from ‪Guantanamo‬!

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    I then noted:

    Here’s the direct link to the campaign video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWnfLn5qdT8
    I must be a bit frazzled after the launch and the build-up to it. I published this article two hours ago on my website and then forgot to post it here (not something I’ve done before). Night all!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Willy Bach wrote:

    Hey Andy, in good voice with a powerful message. I like this a lot, sharing & tweeting.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Willy. So glad you like it. That really means a lot to me.

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Diana Murtaugh Coleman shared the video and wrote:

    Well done, Andy!

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for sharing, Diana! You would have loved it today. Maybe see you in the US in January?

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Diana Murtaugh Coleman wrote:

    That would be wonderful, Andy!

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Dejanka Bryant wrote:

    Great song and video, Andy.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks very much, Dejanka. Much appreciated. Please feel free to share it!

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Dejanka Bryant wrote:

    I shared your song on my wall Andy.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Dejanka. I should say that the whole song will be available soon – probably on Soundcloud.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Dejanka Bryant wrote:

    Great, Andy. I just watched report and interview with you on RT. x

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m glad you got to see it, Dejanka. I thought it went well while the interview was taking place, but I didn’t manage to find it being broadcast on the news bulletins when I got home.

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    David Knopfler wrote:

    Guantánamo prisoner Shaker Aamer’s lawyer Clive Stafford Smith to sue UK
    By Richard Norton-Taylor
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/24/guantanamo-bay-shaker-aamer-stafford-smith

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m so pleased that Richard came down in person, David. I had emailed him the press release the day before, and he said he’d attend.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Waris Ali wrote:

    Great video Andy, love the use of images and the audio of Shaker at the start. Though maybe at the end of the video after the site bit, would have been great to include the Facebook and Twitter too? (Though i know you’ve included them in the video description)

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    We support the campaign and all involved in it from Mexico.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    Great video, by the way!!!

  19. Andy Worthington says...

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Waris, Natalia and Carol for the support. Because it’s a video, Waris, I thought it best just to provide one URL – because people will have to write it down or enter it on their phones rather than just clicking on a hyperlink. But we’ll be promoting all the pages – and Save Shaker – in accompanying text.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Carol Anne Grayson wrote:

    BRILLIANT WORK ANDY … you are a man of many talents 🙂

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Carol! Much appreciated.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Hear Shaker Aamer’s voice from ‪#‎Guantanamo‬ at the start of the official We Stand With Shaker campaign video. Please watch this and share it if you haven’t already!

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    The video has 495 views right now. Can you help us get to 500 views – and then 1000?

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    527 views now. Thanks to everyone watching it. I’m having a band rehearsal tomorrow – with my band The Four Fathers, who play the campaign song I wrote, “Song for Shaker Aamer,” which is featured in the video. If anyone’s in London, we’re playing the Brockley Christmas Market, by Brockley Station, on Coulgate Street, London SE4, on Saturday December 13, at 1.30pm – and we’ll be playing the song.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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